The Italian players have gone on strike ahead of the Rugby World Cup over a pay dispute. The problem has arisen over the bonus payment structure. The players are looking for a match by match bonus scheme as opposed to the one-off performance based payment the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) have planned.
The squad had originally gathered on June 14th near Bolzano for a training camp which has since been suspended until an agreement can be reached. The FIR has released a statement regarding the situation:
The Italian Rugby Federation has taken note of the willingness expressed last night by the players called to the rally in Villabassa with the National Team, not to take part in the training and not to wear (FIR) sports equipment until reaching an economic agreement for participation in the summer preparation and the Rugby World Cup in September in England.
Ireland fans are surely hoping that the situation can be resolved, as the tournament would be poorer for the absence of the Italian team. Especially considering they are in our group. However, the FIR seem to be confident that the situation can be successfully resolved.
We remain confident that, as always, common sense will prevail, and together we can give an important turning point in the future in relations between the federation and the Azzurri.